We took prospective Year 7 families on a final tour of the school yesterday – and this time dropped in on some students to ask them for their views of the school. Our website now has a comprehensive package of virtual material to help prospective families learn more about Sandringham from a distance. There is everything from a 360 degree virtual tour of the facilities (Google style), through to the main Open Evening presentation, subject presentations, on-line prospectus and the virtual tours. We thought that this information would be of interest to current families and the link to follow can be found here.
Extra-curricular activities continue to strengthen as we learn to work within the constraints of Covid-19. On Wednesday, for example, the PE faculty held Year 8 Inter House Sports with a large number of students competing in football and netball matches. There are more details on this later on in the Newsletter and I would like to thank the PE faculty for running these activities. Speaking with students afterwards, they really enjoyed the competition.
We are now inside for lunchtimes and students have been informed that they are in ‘family groups’ on tables. This means no more than six per table, and they are to sit in the same place with the same group each lunchtime. We are also encouraging each family group to take responsibility for bringing in a traditional game that they can play when they have finished eating. Many students have already organised this – and it is interesting to see the variety of games that they like to play.
From January 2021, schools graded Outstanding will be part of the routine inspection programme again. It has been many years since these schools have been regularly inspected and this will provide Ofsted with a greater understanding of the breadth of provision in schools across the country. Sandringham was last inspected in 2008 so we expect a visit from January onwards. The school is in a very strong position to be judged highly; however we are always looking to improve and very much look forward to an external review of our work so that we can do even better. Ofsted will notify us the day before they visit, and we will contact all students and families to make them aware of this.
Our Sustainability programme continues to gain momentum. Next month we take delivery of 420 saplings from the Woodland Trust and the plan is for our Year 7 students to plant these around the northern perimeter of the school field. The species of trees are all native to the UK and have been specifically selected to provide habitat for a wide variety of animal species. This is phase 1 of planting. We have bid for a further 420 saplings for March 2021, and if successful, will ask our lovely new Year 12 students to plant these to finish the project. This will provide a wonderful tree line in the future and something that will significantly add to the quality of our physical environment.
Finally, and sticking with the theme of sustainability, I noticed a research paper from Manchester University suggesting that cleaner air around schools boosts learning. According to this research, cutting air pollution in and around school grounds by a fifth could boost children’s learning ability by as much as 6%, which equates to four additional weeks learning time per year. This reinforces our view that we should significantly reduce traffic around the schools in our area, hence the measures brought in to encourage you all to respect an exclusion zone around school entrances. With the vast majority of our school population living within walking or cycling distance of the school there is no excuse for parents to drive their children to school. Can I request that you consider this most carefully and do not use your cars. We have no-idling signs on site and these further encourage users to be responsible in their use of cars. Let’s see if we can set a trend for the minimum amount of traffic around a secondary school.
Have a good weekend
Mr A Gray